Weekly Meeting - October 23: World Polio Day

Today we are celebrating World Polio Day. Our meeting and program this afternoon, intended as a fundraiser for polio eradication, are open to other Rotary Clubs as well as the community at large. As was the case for Irene Butler’s talk on April 24, lunch for everyone will be $20.00 on this occasion. Doors will open at 11:30.

Our first speaker will be Don “Sparky” Leonard, Governor for District 6380. He is a twenty-year member of the Chatham Rotary Club in Ontario, serving as its President in 2014-2015. You may have seen the photos of him leading our contingent in Ann Arbor’s Fourth of July parade as he drive his “PolioMobile.”

Anne Lee Hussey of South Berwick, Maine, then will speak on “Polio Eradication: the Last Mile.”

A polio survivor herself, Anne has made the eradication of polio and the alleviation of suffering by polio survivors her life’s work. The story she tells is personal; she puts a human face on the subject of polio eradication.

Over the past several years, she has actively participated in 29 volunteer National Immunization Days teams. 26 of those teams she organized and lead herself! She took her teams to where the need is greatest — such as Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar, as well as less “touristy” destinations in Egypt and India — places that do not often see Westerners. The publicity and goodwill that these trips consequently generated, in and of themselves, help communicate the need for eradication. That is almost as critical as new immunizations when we focus on highlighting how close the world is to realizing that objective.

Anne’s work has earned her the International Service Award for a Polio-Free World and  the Rotary Service Above Self Award. She has been honored as a White House Champion of Change for her humanitarianism and contributions to public service. In March of 2017, Rotary and The World Bank jointly recognized her as a Woman of Action as the International Day of Women was celebrated.  In her home state of Maine, Maine Magazine recognized Anne as one of the “50 Mainers of 2017” who have changed our world, improved our lives, and broadened our horizons.

Anne has deep Rotary roots. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Portland (Maine) Sunrise and has served District 7780 there in many capacities, including as Governor in 2010-2011. She currently serves as Adviser to Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee and as Rotary’s representative on the Global Polio Eradication Transition Management Group.  She is CEO of the Polio Survivors Rotarian Action Group and Chair of the its Chair Council for 2016-2018.